Daniel Bourne

Another Dream on the Border of the Old and New World

In the priest’s house
I was given a small chamber with an open door
out to a dock over deep water.

My son by then
was used to living on such edges,
but I still imagined him falling,
swallowed by the dark mouth and its murmur.

In the city I went to all the market stalls.
I wanted simple things like cloth and bread
but though I knew almost all the words in that language
the shopkeepers grew frustrated.
My friend Zbyszek tried to aid me, but he
was he was not inside my mind.
Even the priest
who was the same man as my old professor in college
with bald head and sad apologetic smile

could only raise his hands. But
he was at least glad to see me, overjoyed
that in my old age
I finally had a son.

Meanwhile, all I could think of
were the boy’s next steps, black iron bridges
strewn across the braided channels,
the Odra River splitting in two, splitting in two
just to get through the “recovered Wroclaw,”
as the hold posters used to say
tangled cables and moving planks,
pylons crumbling towards the smooth Siberian mud
the color of cathedral walls washing in rain.